Resolution on Women and Girls from the Working Group on Women & Children

Recognizing that women are not a homogenous group and that certain identities including ethnic and social origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as legal, social and cultural situations, including, refugee status, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, migrant workers, women in criminalized occupations, disability, HIV status, disproportionately impact on women’s experiences, opportunities, and vulnerability to violence

Considering the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Protocol on the Establishment of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ rights, CRC, CEDAW and the Global UN study on violence against Children (2006),

Bearing in mind that Children’s rights are human rights and that Women’s rights are human rights, requiring an integrated and holistic approach to the rights of human beings throughout the region,

We call upon the Commission without reservation to:

Legislation, policy and implementation: Urge states which have not done so to ratify the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocols to the African Charter on the Rights of Women and on the Establishment of a Court on Human and Peoples’ Right respectively.

Urge State Parties to the Protocol on the Rights of Women to take urgent measures to ensure full implementation of that protocol at national level so that women and girls will enjoy effectively rights recognised.

Harmful Practices: We are concerned that State Parties are yet to adopt laws and measures to prohibit and criminalise and punish all forms of violence and discrimination against women and children, in particular against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early (below 18) and forced marriages, widowhood practices and denial of inheritance and land rights and all the other forms of physical and psychological harm affecting children. Such legislation should be accompanied by special measures of implementation.

Registration of Birth: State Parties should make birth registration compulsory and accessible to ensure protection of children from school drop out and early marriage.

Livelihood: States should take appropriate economic measures to reduce poverty of women and ensure decent livelihood and human security for them.

Legal aid, assistance and representation: State parties should as a matter obligation ensure access to justice and courts through effective remedies to women victims of rights violation by provision of free legal aid and representation.

Judicial, Police and law enforcement trainings: State Parties should implement Article 25 of the African Charter and train judges, police and other law enforcement officers on women and children rights and update their knowledge on international and regional human rigths instruments protecting their rights.

States should allocate sufficient resources to Ministries of Women and Gender Affairs to run programmes concerning children and women and ensure adequate coordination between the various ministries and within them.

States should support participatory methods at community level to identify the harmful practices and take measures towards their elimination.

States should implement concluding observations in relation to the examination of periodic State Parties reports made by the African Commission, the Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

State Parties should support the establishment of special rapporteur on Violence Against Children at the AU and strengthen the existing mechanisms on the rights of children.

Education: Integrate education on child and women’s rights and harmful practices in the curricula and training policies, for public and private schools and at community level. This should concern girls, boys, but also persons working with and for children, such as police officers, judicial and social workers etc.
Free and compulsory education up to secondary level for girls and boys and ensure especially that girl children do not drop out of school for marriage.

Legal Protection for People Living with HIV/AIDS: State parties should take legislative and other measures to end discrimination and stigmatization against people living with HIV and AIDS especially ensure the delivery of services for the prevention of mother- to child- transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and economic empowerment of women.

Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights & the Expert Committee on Rights and Welfare of the Child: The Commission should dedicate the coming year to a continental campaign against harmful practices, and with a special consideration of female genital cutting.

Research on Harmful Practices: Develop statistics and document Harmful Practices including less known forms of harmful practices ones (such as initiation rituals, honour crimes, widowhood rites, denial of inheritance and land rights etc.)

Develop research in order to identify good practices and alternative ways of discipline and guidance for children and for people living and working for and with children.

Children with disabilities: More attention should be brought to the rights of disabled children which are particularly vulnerable to abuse.

Internally Displaced Persons: Urge African Union to facilitate the process of drafting the Convention on Prevention and Protection of Internally Displaced Person in Africa and adopt for state ratification

NGOs: To work closely with NGOs to monitor Government implementation and accountability of the African Charter on the Rights and welfare of children, the Protocol on the rights of women in Africa and their recommendations.

We call for the establishment of a coordinating mechanism between the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Court on Human and People’s rights and other relevant bodies.


Done in Brazzaville, 12 November, 2007

Resolution on Strengthening the Responsibility to Protect in Africa

We, the participants of the NGO Forum preceding the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 16th African Human Rights Book Fair, held at Le Meridian Hotel, Brazzaville, Congo,

Recall the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) of 2001 which set the foundation for governmental and civil society effort in achieving international consensus on the Responsibility to Protect,

Note the report of the Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations – Civil Society Relations dated 7 July 2004 which among other things proposed increased civil society participation in the activities of the United Nations,

Mindful of the report of the High–Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes (A more secure world: our shared responsibility) dated 1 December 2004 with particular reference to pages 29 – 30 which called for Member States to endorse the Responsibility to Protect,

Further note the report of the United Nations Secretary General entitled ‘In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development and Human Rights for All’ particularly paragraph 18 and 19 which call for collective action in tackling human security challenges,

Re-affirm paragraph 138 and 139 of the United Nations Summit Declaration of September 2005, where the international community expressed its determination to its responsibility and readiness to act where national authorities fail to protect their population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,

Further Re-affirm the September 2005 United Nations Summit Declaration calling for the cooperation of relevant regional organisations to help protect populations from these grave threats and the common African position on the proposed reform of the United Nations otherwise known as the ‘Ezulwini Consensus’ where the African Union in its 7th Extraordinary Session of March 2005 in Addis Ababa adopted the Responsibility to Protect,

Deeply concerned at the slow response of the international community to past acts of genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda and the continued slow response to the allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur,

Call on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

Re-affirm paragraph 138 and 139 of the September 2005 United Nations Summit Declaration, where governments endorsed their collective responsibility to protect population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity when individual states “manifestly fail” to protect their own populations from these grave threats,

Urge the African Union to accelerate the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights by ensuring good governance and take steps to progressively protect their citizens from avoidable conflicts and provide fair and equitable participation in resource allocation and distribution,

Call on African States, African Union and the United Nations to expedite the operationalization of the UN-AU hybrid force in Darfur,

Call on all actors of the Darfur conflict to stop hostilities and give ways to dialogue and negotiation.

 

Done in Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolution on the Situation of Defenders of Human Rights in Africa

We, participants to the Forum on the participation of NGOs in the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights from 10-12 November 2007 in Brazzaville,

Considering the situation of human rights defenders in the states parties to the African Charter on Human and people’s rights of 1986 which commemorates its 20th anniversary today;

Recalling the provisions the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration of the United Nations of 1998 on Human Rights Defenders, the Declaration of “Grand Baie” and its plan of action of 1999, the Declaration of Kigali of 2003 and all the legal instruments which guarantee the right of defenders of human rights.

Deeply concerned by the recent developments in Niger where an order on a warning applicable only to the region of Agadez has resulted in the arrest of journalists, whose the sole crime has been to exercise the right entitled to them by the international legal instruments recognizing freedom of speech and press and to which their country is party;

Deeply concerned by the developments in Somalia where eight journalists fulfilling their task were victims of extra-judicial killings;

Deeply concerned by the developments in Sudan where the situation of human rights defenders is precarious due to the Darfur crisis which affects everybody;

Noticing the harassment and intimidation to which journalists in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, etc, are victims;

Request that the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to adopt a Resolution:

1. Calling upon governments of member states to put an end to harassment and intimidation acts, attacks, arrests, detention and killing of journalists in their respective countries;

2. Condemning the measures the purpose of which is to muzzle the press, which are applied in many African Countries, particularly in Niger, Gambia, Somalia, Ethiopia an DRC;

3. Asking to all member states, particularly to:

a. Niger to put an end to the arrest of journalists and to take appropriate steps to free those who are detained;
b. Somalia to put an end to the killing of journalists;
c. DRC to put an end to harassment of journalists and defenders of human rights and to have cases of killing of journalists and human rights defenders tried in the shortest time possible;
d. Rwanda to put an end to intimidation, and persecution of human rights defenders;
e. And all states to fulfil them commitment as regard ad African Charter on human an peoples rights, the principles and guidelines on judicial assistance in Africa, the declaration on the defenders of human right, the declarations of ‘’Grand Baie’’ and Kigali and the international pact on civil and political rights.

4. Ask:

° The African Union:
– To recommend to the states to take all necessary measures or adopting the laws on the decriminalization of press offensive;
– The renewals of the mandate, special reporter on human rights.

° The Commission:
– To implement the resolution on human rights adopted by asking states to get the special Rapporteur involver in the follow up implementation and protection of human rights during elections;
– To call on the states, to reply to the communication sent by the special Rapporteur;
– To ask the states to invite the special Rapporteur permanenthly and to provide financial means to allow him fulfil his task

 

Done at Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolution on the Hissène Habré case

The NGO Forum meeting on the 10, 11 and 12 November 2007 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo,

Recalling the decision by the United Nations Committee against Torture in May 2006 according to which Senegal had so far failed to discharge its obligations as a State Party to the 1984 Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by failing to try Hissène Habré;

Welcoming the decision by the African Union in July 2006 requesting the Senegalese authorities to discharge their international obligations by trying Hissène Habré in Senegal;

Considering the many years the Chadian victims have been waiting for their rights to fair trail to be respected;

Considering the adoption by Senegal of legislative amendments enabling the Senegalese courts to try the most serious crimes committed by a foreigner outside of Senegalese territory; and welcoming the decision taken by the Senegalese authorities to organise the said trial in Senegal in accordance with the international obligations of the State.

The NGO Forum is asking the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to adopt a Resolution:

1. Requesting the Senegalese authorities to speed up the arrangements for Hissène Habré’s trial, particularly by adopting a public timetable for the various stages of the procedure;
2. Requesting the Senegalese authorities to adopt all necessary measures to ensure that the Hissène Habré trial is seen as an example and to respect all international standards in force;
3. Requesting the international community to provide Senegal with all the necessary means to enable the speedy and exemplary trial of Hissène Habré;
4. Deciding to remain seized of this matter.

 

Done in Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolution on the African Court in Human and Peoples’ Rights

Considering that twenty-three states have to date ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Noting that only Burkina Faso and Mali have made a declaration as per the provisions of Article 34(6) of the Protocol, thus allowing NGOs and individuals in their respective countries to directly access the Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Recalling previous recommendations of the NGO Forum to the African Commission on the African Court;

Participants at the NGO Forum preceding the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:

Call on the African Commission adopt a resolution exhorting States Parties:

1. That have not yet made a declaration under Article 34(6) of the protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to do so as a matter of urgency;
2. To be proactive in creating an institutional framework for the co-operation between the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
3. To take necessary measures in order to allow the Secretariat of the African Commission and the Registry of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to fully discharge their respective functions, including through the speedy recruitment of adequately qualified legal personnel;

We call upon State parties to the African Union:

1. To ratify the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, for those that have not yet done so;
2. That have not yet made a declaration under Article 34(6) of the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to do so as a matter of urgency;
3. To create a mechanism for legal assistance and a fund for victims that would allow them to obtain truth, justice and redress;
4. To guarantee the implementation of resolutions and recommendations of the African Commission and ensure the enforcement of rulings of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
5. To guarantee and respect the independence, namely financial, of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

We call upon the Panel of Experts of the African Union charged with auditing the institutions of the African Union:

1. To take forward views expressed by civil society, in particular its concerns regarding the effectiveness and independence of regional bodies ensuring the protection of human rights, namely the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 

Done at Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Somalia

The Forum of Participation of NGOs, meeting on 10-12 November 2007, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo,

Considering the armed conflict between the Somali government forces, supported by the Ethiopian army, and the insurgents, characterised by grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, causing numerous deaths, including amongst the civilian population.

Considering in particular the violent attacks committed between 27-29 October 2007, which led to the forced displacement of around 88,000 persons from Mogadishu;

Considering the repeated attacks, including suicide attacks against government soldiers and allied Ethiopian forces, as well as the increasing number of targeted killings, of which the majority of victims are representatives or supporters of the Government;

Considering the summary executions and murders of journalists, as well as the serious threats against and harassment of human rights defenders;

Considering the numerous attacks against staff members of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), deployed since February 2007, under the mandate of the UN Security Council;

Considering the obstacles to the work of humanitarian organisations and UN agencies;

Considering the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia, in particular the 800,000 internally displaced persons and more than 1.5 million individuals who, according to UN estimates, are in urgent need of protection;

The NGO Forum requests the ACHPR to adopt a Resolution:

1. Condemning the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict;
2. Calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, with full respect for the right to a fair trial;
3. Deciding to send an ACHPR mission to Somalia;
4. Recommending:

All parties to the conflict:

a. To stop immediately all attacks against civilians and staff members of the AMISOM;
b. To facilitate free access and the work of humanitarian organisations and UN agencies in the country;
c. To adopt a cease fire without further delay;
d. To respect the right to freedom of speech of journalists and human rights defenders;
e. To continue and reinforce negotiations to create representative national institutions emerging from an inclusive political process as envisaged by the Federal Charter of Transition, with a view to achieving stability, peace and reconciliation in the country;

The Ethiopian authorities:

a. To withdraw all troops and to hand over to the AMISOM;

The African Union:

a. To increase the number of AMISOM personnel;
b. To reinforce the mandate of AMISOM in order to create safe conditions of access for humanitarian aid and to protect civilians;

The International Community:

a. To respect an embargo on weapons, as imposed by the UN Security Council;

To the UN Security Council:

a. To speed up the process of consultation on the deployment of a peace-keeping operation in Somalia.

 

Done in Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolution on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

The Forum of Participation of NGOs, meeting on 10-12 November 2007, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo,

Considering the generalised practice of sexual violence against women, men, and children;

Noting with great concern, in numerous conflicts, the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war;

Considering that women are the principal victims of sexual violence;

Considering the extent of physical and psychological trauma suffered by victims of sexual violence and the consequences on achieving sustainable peace;

Considering that providing support to victims must be reinforced as a priority;

Noting with great concern the prevailing impunity for the perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence and emphasising that a culture of impunity encourages the commission of such crimes;

Considering the legal and practical obstacles, in numerous countries, for victims of crimes of sexual violence to seek justice and claim their rights to truth, justice and reparation;

Recalling the provisions of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa;

Recalling the provisions of the Statute of the International Criminal Court defining crimes of sexual violence as war crimes and crimes against humanity and as constitutive elements of genocide;

Recalling the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security;

Recalling the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in time of war;

The NGO Forum requests the ACHPR to adopt a resolution:

1. Condemning the practice of sexual violence;
2. Requesting States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

a. Identify the causes and consequences of sexual violence and to take all necessary measures to prevent and eradicate it;
b. Criminalise all forms of sexual violence, ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes are held accountable by the relevant justice system and implement victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation;
c. Ensure that security and military forces receive adequate training on the principles of international humanitarian law, women’s rights and the children’s rights;
d. Ensure that victims have access to medical assistance and psychological support;
e. Develop campaigns to raise public awareness on victims’ rights and seeking effective remedies;
f. Ratify and implement the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
g. Ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on Establishing an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 

Done in Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolutions on Natural Resources and Human Rights

Considering international and regional standards including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which expressly states in article 21 that all people shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources which shall be exercised in the exclusion interest of people, and in no case shall the people be deprived of it, the dispossessed people shall have a right to lawful recovery of its properties as well as to adequate compensation;

Bearing in mind article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which states that all people shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development;

Considering provisions in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which guarantee the protection and promotion of individual and collective rights;

Considering that provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union require the promotion and protection of human rights and obligates member states to promote the social economic development of Africa and raise the standard of living of African people;

Underlining that African states face cross cutting same problems when it comes to exploitation of natural resources and human rights. Key among them:

Deeply concerned by excess poverty among the local people that do not benefit from the exploitation of natural resources due to corruption, lack of transparency and governance, and mismanagement of resource revenues;

Preoccupied that the persistence of lack of access to education, health care, adequate livelihoods and satisfactory environment violate the human dignity of African people;

Deeply concerned that the practice of unlawful exploitation and theft of natural resources fuel conflict in Africa resulting in unlawful killings, rape, displacement, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious human rights abuses.

Recommend to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights that it calls upon States to:

1. Enable the full participation of local people in decision-making processes concerning the exploitation of natural recourses;
2. Adhere to mechanisms which enable transparency and accountability in management of natural resources;
3. Take internal legislative measures to implement provisions relating to natural resources contained in the Declaration of the United Nations on Indigenous Peoples;
4. Take appropriate measures to respect good governance practices in natural resource management, fight poverty and use income generated from natural resources to ensure the full realisation of economic, social and cultural rights;
5. Guarantee equitable distribution of revenue from natural resources in order to ensure the well being of local populations.

Urge the Commission to:

1. Condemn the patterns of human rights violations resulting from extractive sector activities in particular; mining; oil; gas, fisheries; forestry, wildlife etc,. Put in place a working group that will investigate human rights violations linked to the exploitation of natural resources in Africa

 

Done in Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007

Resolution on Migration and Human Rights

We, the Forum on the participation of NGOs gathered in Brazzaville (Congo), on the occasion of the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights,

Considering that Sub-Saharan African countries are experiencing population movements by a number of different categories people: workers, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). About one third of the estimated 200 million migrants worldwide in 2006 were originally from Africa. Moreover, Africa alone is responsible for a third of all refugees and about half the IDP in the world,

Insisting on the fact that in Sub-Saharan Africa, almost one in two migrants (47%) is a woman, and that women and children make up 70% of the refugees and IDPs on the continent,

Considering the scope of the violations of the rights guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights surrounding the question of migration, namely violation of the right to life, the right to free movement of the person, the obligation to protect civilians, discriminations, etc,

Recalling the appointment in 2003 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of a Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons,

Recalling the experts’ meeting organised by the African Union (AU) on migration and development in April 2006 in Algiers; and recalling the decision of the AU Executive Council held in January 2007 calling for the organisation of a Special Summit on Refugees, Repatriated and Internally Displaced Persons in 2008,

Recommend to State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that they:

1. recognize the importance of the human rights of all migrants, including refugees and IDPs, and to ensure that national legislation relating to migration issues is consistent with and does not conflict with international human rights standards and conventions,

2. ratify and implement the main international instruments relating to migrants and refugees, such as the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and the African Union Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa;

3. ratify and apply the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women as well as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and its Additional Protocol allowing individual complaints or communications, in order to respect the rights of migrant women;

4. respect the principle of customary international law of non-refoulement, to make legal requirements for entering a territory more flexible in order to take into account the needs for asylum seekers; to revoke the notion of “safe third country”; to strengthen institutional structures for addressing and managing individual asylum requests; to respect the right of asylum seekers to contest rulings on asylum status; and to improve the reception structures and processes of refugees seeking asylum,

5. domesticate the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement into national law and subsequently respect them.

Recommend to the AU bodies that they:

1. adopt legally binding instruments for the protection of the rights of migrants, notably a Convention for the Prevention of Internal Displacement and the Protection of and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, based on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement,

2. take into account the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and to consult with and take into account the concerns of civil society in the elaboration process and the final development of these norms.

Recommend to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights that they:

1. provide the Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights with the resources and political support to fulfil his mandate, notably by receiving information, conducting research and gathering information, negotiating with States, and advocate for the implementation of the relevant UN and AU conventions, and by submitting reports and recommendations to the Commission;

2. ensure that the issue of migrations and human rights becomes a permanent question raised by the Commission l when examining periodic reports presented by States parties.

 

Done in Brazzaville, November 12th, 2007